Pope Honorius III
Letter to the Archbishop of Lund, February 4, 1227
We have received a petition from you requesting that we design to provide mercifully for the fact that numerous subjects of yours, clerics and laymen, frequently engage in prohibited sexual relations, not only with persons related to them but also by having sinful intercourse with dumb animals and by that sin which should neither be named nor committed, on account of which the Lord condemned to destruction Sodom and Gomorrah; and that some of these on account of the length and dangers of the journey, others on account of shame, would rather die in these sins than appear before us on such charges.
Therefore, since divine mercy is greater than human perverseness and since it is better to count on the generosity of God than to despair because of the magnitude of a particular sin, we order you herewith to reprimand, exhort, and threaten such sinners and then to assign them, with patience and good judgment, a salutary penance, using moderation in its devising, so that neither does undo leniency prompt audacity to sin, nor does unreasonable severity inspire despair.
(Text in A. Krarup, ed., Bullarium Danicum, no. 208 (Copenhagen, 1932), 1:178
In the 13th Century some authorities on the Continent adopted statutes punishing homosexuality with confiscation of property, castration or burning. (Michael Goodich, Sodomy in Medieval Secular Law Journal of Homosexuality, (1976), 295-302)
Christian Churches have usually favored the reform of the civil law which has occurred in many countries, removing the harsh penalties previously imposed. In England, the Churches played a significant part in supporting the appointment of the committee responsible for the Wolfenden Report of 1957 and the enactment of its recommendations as the Sexual Offenses Act 1967, which removed criminal sanctions from homosexual behavior between consenting adults in private. These developments have been accompanied by changes in attitude among psychiatrists who no longer tend to regard homosexual leaning as something to be cured. In 1991 the House of Bishops of the General Synod of the C of E, while emphasizing that homophile [i.e. homosexual] orientation and its expression in sexual activity do not constitute a parallel and alternative form of human sexual activity as complete within the terms of the created order as the heterosexual; nevertheless did not reject homosexual activity in permanent relationships among the laity, but insisted that the clergy have a particular responsibility to maintain the scriptural ideal; they cannot claim the liberty to enter into sexually active homophile relationships.”
(THE OXFORD DICTIONARY OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH, EDITED BY F.L. CROSS AND E.A. LIVINGSTONE).
Is the Bible Against Homosexuality? by Preacher Mattai © 2016. All rights reserved.
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